7:45 – 8:30 P.M.
Last night, New York City’s, Best Buy Theater served host to Rick Ross’ Mastermind album release concert. Upon entry, a bevy of Top Flight security guards greeted guests with, ‘Have your own damn tickets out before you get on line!’ Well, Ricky must have remained connected to some of his former co-workers.
While descending a plethora of stairs I was again thankful I chose to wear my reliable and always comfy all-black Chucks. Overhead, several substantial crystal chandeliers gave the theatre its overt lighting. The V.I.P..’s segregated themselves to two different areas; balcony seating was reserved for these cognizant of the personal importance, as was a section of the conventional cushioned theatre seats.
The feuds are over! Tracks by both Jeezy and 50 Cent were played. The pre-show cacophony of sound was mixed with assorted Hip-Hop, anxious conversation from The Boss’ supporters, and fruitless haranguing from the desperate security anxious for action. Proclaiming, “No smoking!,’ suspected Green connoisseurs were readily assaulted with an intense flashlights glare.
8:30 – 10 P.M.
At 8:30 P.M. all lights were abruptly shut off. Momentarily engulfed by darkness a hush silenced the crowd. The stage instantly illuminated with Hot 97’s, DJ Enuff. French Montana’s “Ocho Cinco,” shattered the silence. The crowd was definitely on one! Playing to the home crowd, a medley of New York nostalgia followed. Biggie, ‘Pac, The Infamous Mobb’s “Shook Ones,” and even Nas’ “Oochie Wally” cranked up the collective excitement. The knob was nearly broken.
Though armed with impressive scratching, DJ Enuff’s previous promises of an unrevealed Rick Ross annoyed the crowd. Around 10 P.M. the stage was still sans Ross. A lackluster chorus of boos echoed growing contention and disappointment.
10:15 – 11:15 P.M.
Accompanied by 1500 or Nothin’s band and DJ Sam Sneed, The Teflon Don, finally took the stage. A Maybach Music intro was reiterated to signify his presence. “B.M.F.,” “I’m Not A Star,” and “I’m A Boss” erased any angst regarding the prolonged wait.
Snippets of the 2013 hit “F*ckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt,” and “The Devil Is A Lie,” were both performed without Jay Z. An abbreviated “Blk & White” was performed before Atlanta’s, Tracy T graced the stage to assist with “War Ready.” Too bad Jeezy was not in attendance to complete the track.
A special homage to Brooklyn, NY was paid throughout the show’s duration. Daring to remake the classic Notorious B.I.G., “You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)” Ross’ rendition “Nobody” features both Diddy and French Montana. The Coke-Boy himself presence heightened “Nobody’s” delivery. Many of the night’s rappers relied on the security of a backing track; this was only awkward when the live spitting did not synch with the prerecorded track.
Though only performing one song, The LOX snatched the stage when performing the classic, “Money, Power, Respect.” This was the absolute highlight of the show; everyone was on their feet! Emboldened by the tangible energy, Rick Ross, time-travelled to ’06 with “Hustlin’” followed by his verse from “On One,” plus a preview of “In Vein” which is bolstered by The Weeknd’s voice. Taking a moment to honor the Creator, “Sanctified” briefly graced the crowd.
Strip club anthem, “Don’t Stop” was interrupted by DJ Khaled who insisted on an Instagram break. French Montana, DJ Khaled, and Rick Rose posed amid the blinding flashes for the Instagram memory. Armed with confidence Tracy T again took the stage sharing “Champagne” and “16” to a stoic New York reception.
Fat Trel’s “Shhh” and “She Fell In Love” reinvigorated the crowd. Introduced by Khaled, Busta Rhymes, used his credible cadence to deliver the classic, “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See.” Perhaps the concert’s most awe-inspiring moment was when Busta proclaimed, “Ross Ross, hands-down, is one of my favorite MCs of all time.” This revelation elicited a secure-man hug from The Boss and the former Leader of The New School.
For reasons unknown, in true DJ Khaled fashion, the DJ shouted to Ross supporters to buy all three versions of Mastermind. Kanye shrugs and a collective f*ckhesaid emanated from the crowd. I was grateful to have been seated during the concert. It definitely killed a mundane Monday evening.
Videographer: Emazing Smith